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Is this fair assesment of Landmark Baptist

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salty, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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  2. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
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  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I'd say it is pretty mucked up. It gets some things right and some things wrong and it's not easily sorted out. Oddly, right off the bat they use a term I have never heard in reference to Landmarkism -- heritage theology. Wonder where that came from?
     
  4. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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  5. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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  6. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    About par for the course for that website!

    that GotQuestions article has been up since 2007:

    web.archive.org/web/20071016093110/https://www.gotquestions.org/landmarkism-Baptist-bride.html

    "About Us > All of our answers are reviewed for Biblical and theological accuracy by our President and Founder, S. Michael Houdmann. He possesses a Master's degree in Christian Theology from Calvary Theological Seminary and a Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies from Calvary Bible College."
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Circa 2000, I conducted a study to identify and count independent unaffiliated Baptist churches holding Landmark ecclesiology (i.e., totally unaffiliated and therefore not counted elsewhere). I determined the best way to identify a church holding Landmark ecclesiology is to identify the common characteristics of “self-identified” Landmark Baptists from the past and in the present. I developed what I believe are the common characteristics/minimum requirements to be a “Landmark Baptist church.” By this, I mean a church that holds beliefs in combination (e.g., not just holding one of two of them, such as only local autonomy & restricted communion). For what it is worth, these four things are what I believe are common and necessary, in combination.

    1. The church is a local autonomous body authorized by Jesus Christ to evangelize, baptise, and teach His disciples.
    2. Jesus organized His church during His personal ministry, promised its continued existence, and that church (generically) still exists today.
    3. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water by the authority of a local New Testament church; believers who have been immersed by other denominations must submit to baptism by an authorized administrator.
    4. The Lord’s supper is restricted to baptised believers who are walking in orderly church capacity.

    [Some Landmarkers may be stricter and more separated than just the above four points (e.g. Baptist bride) but those extra beliefs are not part and parcel of Landmarkism, in my opinion.]
     
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  8. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
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    That's a pretty solid list.

    I also would point out that not all Landmarkers separated from the Southern Baptists and for many decades hundreds if not thousands of churches remained within the denomination.

    The church I grew up in essentially followed Landmark ecclesiology as you outlined. Communion was close and our pianist, of Pentecostal Holiness persuasion, had to be baptized before she could be a member.

    You could buy "The Trail of Blood" at the Baptist Book Store, and I have a 1960ish new member handbook that essentially follows Carroll.

    My take on the survival of Landmarkism within the convention is that as long as the churches contributed to the Cooperative Program, no one cared about their ecclesiology.

    I have never met a Baptist Brider and assume they are a very small subset of Landmark Baptists (or perhaps hyperLandmarkers) and likely would have been repudiated by the original Landmarkers. Robert would know much more about the prevalence of Bridism than I would.
     
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  9. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    RL
    I would say there is a # 5 & # 6
    # 5 A church must be able to trace it heritage (thus heritage theology) back thur each "approved" mother churches back to The time of Pentecost. That is a church is not a valid church - unless it was started by a church that was started by at church, that was started by a a church............................... that was started by the first church at Pentecost.

    # 6 A baptism is valid only if baptized by a "baptized pastor" who can trace his baptism back to John the Baptist.
     
  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Salty, your additions of #5 & # 6 have some elements that would be held by Landmarkers, but none of them (except possibly some odd duck exception) would put it the way you have.

    5. Some (many?) do hold that a true church is a church that was started by a church, that was started by a church... That is chain link succession. Not all Landmarkers hold that, but even those who do would not likely claim that a church must be able to trace this ancestry. Most careful Landmark theologians would likely assert "church perpetuity" and not "chain link succession." Further, I do not know any Landmarkers who believe the church was started on the day of Pentecost. Notice the detail in the beginning of my #2.

    6. Some (not so many?) Landmarkers hold that baptism must be performed by a "legal administrator" (i.e., an ordained Baptist minister), but probably more assert that the authority is in the church and the church may authorize any member to baptize. Again, it is also unlikely that many would say the minister must be able to trace this ancestry.

    There are lots of misconceptions about what Landmarkism is, some perpetuated by their antagonists (who are in a hurry to distance them from Baptist ecclesiology) and some by themselves -- especially hard-liners who refuse the recognize as Landmarkers those who won't/don't go as far as they do.

    Two other things. rsr is correct about Landmarkism in the Southern Baptist Convention, even today more than you might think. It is not just an independent Baptist thing. Also, imo, it is best to understand Landmarkism as a systematic ecclesiology (as Calvinism is a systematic soteriology). Just as the tenets of Calvinism did not come into existence at the Synod of Dordt, but were systematized and clarified there, so the tenets of Landmarkism did not come into existence with the Cotton Grove meeting in 1851 in Tennessee, but were systematized and clarified there (but more so through the writings of J. R. Graves).

    Bottom line, in my opinion, we could not add your 5 & 6 without excluding from Landmarkism some churches that hold Landmark ecclesiology.
     
    #10 rlvaughn, Jan 14, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  11. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Thanks for your input.

    I never came in contact with Landmark unit I got to Germany - and have not had any contact since coming back stateside.
     
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